Barefoot, Radiant and Smiling-the story of Malika Sellami by Juanita Craig
The night of Friday 19 March was the launch of Malika Sellami’s second album titled Barefoot, Smiling at Café Baylone. The venue was packed out and there was standing room only for those people who showed up for the performance within half an hour of the show starting. Who is this inspiring, talented and witty free spirit known as Malika Sellami? She is a homegrown artist from Quebec that has been making her mark on the world for quite some time professionally as well as artistically. Malika’s lineage is as exotic as her name. She is of Tunisian descent from her dad’s side and her mother is a Quebecois. Malika was brought up in Quebec City and studied arts and drama at Laval University as well as, trained to become a teacher. Once she became a teacher and after teaching for a few years she realised that teaching was not where she belonged. So, she decided to stray from the well beaten track of life to travel and reconnect with herself and find what it is that really lights her up. Her travels took her around the world including Turkey, Mexico, Columbia, Peru, Equator, Argentina where she got to sing and surf. After two and a half years of travelling, Malika decided to devote herself to a project that keeps her passionate: performing her own music!
Malika now calls Saskatoon home. In between writing, producing and performing her music, she still manages to teach at a French immersion school in Saskatchewan.
Malika’s music has been inspired and influenced by a number of things. Namely, the overflow of emotions inside of herself, Xavier Rudd, Jack Johnson, Dumas, Newton Faulkner, men who have come into her life, dreams, cookie dough, her travels and nature. There is a dreamy wonder about her music as she sings about lightning storms behind the clouds when the sun is setting on the Prairies or rain falling on her skin. At the same time, you feel like you become part of her life tale as she describes her experiences of people and places in a frank and candid way.
Malika has a wonderful stage presence and it is easy to imagine how her students would be enchanted by her also. She converses easily with the audience and really gets them engaged in her music. In fact, she works a crowd much like a teacher works a classroom ensuring that everyone participates. She mentioned that she ‘dig(s) the interaction with the crowd’. That much is very obvious.
In 2009, she was the ‘Gala fransaskois de la chanson’ winner.
Malika is not only funny and beautiful but she is also down to earth. She is someone you would want to get to know as she exudes a friendly, welcoming and peaceful but fun aura about herself.
Malika loves to learn. She has learned a lot over the past six months as she has laboured to produce Barefoot, Smiling wearing multiple hats in the process to launch her album. For Malika, the rewarding factor about this whole process is having ‘people coming to watch her(perform)…the stage becomes part of the audience and vice versa’.
Barefoot Smiling features songs in English, French and Spanish. One day Malika hopes to sing in Arabic. Moreover, she believes that language is ‘just another instrument to communicate’. Malika’s passion for life and way of being are refreshing to be apart of and to witness.
She has the talent, energy and will power to achieve what she is seeking and that is to ‘bring people together to dance, cry and to celebrate life, death, births, marriages (actually for) any (type of) celebration…to create a symbiosis (between her) music and the crowd’.
For more information about Malika, go to: sonicbids.com/malikasellami